Thursday, 13 March 2008

When Shall It All End?

I look forward when my trepidation about being at the airport will end. Its funny how I should tremble at the prospect of being in a airport after all trepidation is what innocent Iraqis feel when their beloved country is bombed every minute by both friend and foe and my situation is nothing compared to theirs. Well dont they say different strokes for different folk? I cling to it. 

There is a long queue of people; short, white, black, fat, thin, tall and there's me with that sullen face and heavy bag and a heart pounding so loud it jolts the person next to me. Gosh, its only a queue to passport control so what's my problem? My problem is my green passport. The fact that it makes me suffer some sort of discrimination that is not often meted out to holders of other coloured passports unless of course of you are of Pakistani origin or your name has something to do with Islam. In a world ruled by the likes of the powerful Americans, terrorism is only the senior brother to fraud and document falsification. 

I say am proud to be Nigerian only when the likes of Tuface wins MTV award or Samuel Peter wins the WBC heavy weight but most times I am ashamed to be Nigerian and dont find it particularly flattering when I have to flash my green passport at immigration control. In fact in the long queue I have to hide my passport until I get to the desk. Call it paranoia but I actually could save myself a lot of scornful looks by that single act. On getting to the desk, am asked all sorts of stupid questions they already have answers to as if they were waiting for you to just tell one lie and they send you packing. When they've been unsuccessful at ruffling your feathers they deliberately keep you waiting for God knows what. On one occasion they told me that they kept me waiting cos some idiots had falsified the Nigerian passport through the Nigerian Immigration Service and issued it to unknowing Nigerians. So they got a directive to check every passport to make sure its not one of the fake ones. I've had my passport 6 years prior to this time and one glance at how battered it is, you don't need some mind numbing experiment to tell that this passport is not one of the forged ones. Yet they made me wait 45 minutes after a long flight of 6 hours. You sit there shuffling your toes, biting the corner of your lips and people stare at you with that she's-a-criminal look plastered all over their faces.

And what's the cause of all this acrimony? I bet as Nigerians we all know so I dont need to go down that route. However my fifty cent is that before you falsify that document or embark upon fleecing people off their hard earned money, think of the millions of Nigerians whom you are criminalising in the process. There are Nigerians all over the world especially in the West who are doing great things but have minute media coverage but every so often the under hand antics of a few Nigerians get ample coverage. As we all know, bad news travel faster. I carry my cross as a Nigerian but indeed its a big burden upon my feeble back...

9 comments:

Afrobabe said...

lol...Being Nigerian is the best thing in the world but I swear traveling with a Nigerian passport is like traveling with prison release documents...I was kept at heathrow from 3pm to 10pm cos they needed to call everybody in naija, from those I claimed to work with to those I claimed to have come to stay with....you know the worse part of that treatment??? It was a nigerian immigration officer!!!

ikobian emperor said...

Do not think Nigerians are the only people that suffer this indignity. I don't subscribe to Nigerians that claim to have this problem with their passports at immigration. The world has changed and we are not the only ones that suffer this scrutiny. Ever since 9-11, muslims or nations of Arab origin have been subject to even more scrutiny. It is no point whining about it. If you feel so strongly, then do not travel. If you have to, then be prepared to suffer what other unscrupulous people have done to the system. That's life as it is now. If your papers are in order, why should you care how you are perceived? Dress smart, be confident and be courteous and never lose your cool and most of all....live with it or stay at home.

Ollay said...

Ouch!...that was harsh Ikobian. But I see what you mean. I sarcastically made a reference to your point in my post. We cant do without traveling so I guess we'll have to live with it.

Afrobabe I find that Nigerian immigration officers tend to be harder on Nigerians. The last time I was going NY this pot-bellied Nigerian immigration officer was staring at my face and at my passport as if to catch me out that I wasn't the one on the passport...what gives?

Doja said...

Give a nigerian any little power and it gets in their head! They are usually rude, but always polite to white people..... nincompoops.
I know they are doing their jobs, but I just fail to understand why they have the fake british accents and are always rude to black people.

Uzezi said...

tyytbylove being a nigerian, but I feel you. some will continue to drag us down the gutter. let us pray for a better tomorrow

@ doja - very right, more loyal and hospitable to the whites than to ourselves.

Ollay said...

Doja...thanks for stopping by my blog. I concur with the fake British accent bit...how disgusting. Butter no be monkey food!

@Uzezi...thanks for responding. I saw a drama on BBC last year called shoot the messenger. The main character in it likened black people to a number of snails in a basket and as soon as one is trying to crawl out of the basket, another follows and drags it back into the basket. Such is the way Nigerians tend to treat themselves...

Nogo said...

I feel your pain. I've actually seen it happen, though I can't personally say I share a similar experience. I've been behind someone with a Nigerian passport in a queue, maybe one or two people behind and managed to clear immigration control or whatever their called first. Pele xx

Mo Ma said...

Ikobian, it's incredibly unfair that a few thousand unscrupulous bastards get a whole nation 'blacklisted' and you have no right telling her to suck it up and just accept it.


I feel for my Naija friends. Be strong, woman!

Ollay said...

Thanks Moma...at least someone understands me and thanks even more for commenting on and visiting my blog.